I didn't know quite what to expect when I booked my tickets to see Ringo Starr and the All Starr Band live. Ringo's had a tough couple of decades and fuss made over his refusal to sign anything else for fans and comments about Liverpool suggested that he'd become rather curmudgeonly since hitting 70.
What I didn't expect was the figure who bounded onstage tonight, full of boyish enthusiasm, slim and grinning and looking about 25 years younger than his 70 years, buoyed up by (seemingly) unforced glee at his latest tour.
And he was certainly in good company. The All Starr Band consisted of Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Gary Wright, Richard Page (of Mr Mister) and Wally Palmar (The Romantics).
Launching into It Don't Come Easy, Ringo seemed to be having a whale of a time and it was one of those gigs where it's hard to keep the grin off your face and where the enthusiasm of the performers rubs off onto the audience, even if almost every one of us remained glued to our seats, restricting out enthusiastic displays to polite rounds of applause. British reserve apparently seemed to be leading the way, although there was a good bit of banter between Ringo and the audience at some points, as he joked self-depreciatively between songs. Almost uncomfortably at one point, where he obviously thought an off-the-cuff remark about having his bedroom decorated with a picture of a cheering crowd on one wall fell a bit flat and he remarked, "I don't really. I just made that up. I thought it was funny. Apparently not." He looked so momentarily dejected I was surprised no-one jumped on stage to give him a big hug.
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